RIM better get to work if it wants to compete with Apple

By Don Reisinger, ITworld.com |  Hardware, Apple, BlackBerry

This column is part of a series "Making It Personal" that explores our love/hate relationship with personal technology.

Just one week ago, RIM's BlackBerry device was one of the few smartphones in the world that was capable of addressing the needs of business professionals. And while Apple's iPhone was performing relatively well, it was unable to break into the business market because it lacked many of the features expected from an enterprisephone.

But all that has changed.

With Apple's announcement of significant improvements to its iPhone last Thursday, the possibilities of business use are endless. Sure, the inclusion of push email, contacts and calendars is great, but it's what the BlackBerry doesn't do that will set the iPhone apart and propel Apple to the top spot in all mobile markets.Don't believe me? Consider the fact that today's BlackBerry is only capable of hosting a finite number of applications that may not offer the kind of functionality most users are looking for. Also consider the fact that those applications are made by developers who are forced to guess what applications businesses really
want. But with Apple's SDK, all that has changed.

For the first time, people from all walks of life can create applications and tailor those programs to their own life. Can you imagine the possibilities? What if a company needed a specially designed application that has a direct
impact on its business? Surely a tech-savvy person could develop a tailor-made app and submit it to the IT department for review. If worthwhile, wouldn't the IT department mandate that the application be installed on all iPhones in the office because of its import to the business as a whole? Yep.

And unfortunately for RIM, you simply can't do that on a BlackBerry.

But what most people don't realize is that the iPhone's ability to eliminate a keyboard and let you touch your way through menus isn't what will sell this device to businesses. Instead, it's Apple's decision to offer development tools to everyone that will set it apart and take RIM down a path it certainly doesn't want to follow.

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